Fiela's Child

Dalene Matthee, Author Alfred A. Knopf $16.95 (350p) ISBN 978-0-394-55231-6
Fiela Kimoetie cares deeply for the elements in her lifethe farm she owns (no small source of pride for a black South African), her sick husband, once so beautiful, and their children. Of these last, her white child, Benjamin, who wandered into her life at the age of three, is dearest, because there may come a time when he is taken from her. Fiela is prepared to fight if that happens, but her strength doesn't prevail on the day the census-takers discover Benjamin, now 12, and remove him from the open loveliness of the Long Kloof into the confining forest, where a shiftless couple whose son wandered off nine years before lay claim to him. He never accepts the transition of identity from Benjamin to Lukas, nor from Fiela to the woman he is told to call Ma, any more than Fiela accepts his absence, and his feet keep seeking the Long Kloof, where his spirit was free to rise. Benjamin's escape, its involvements and consequences, bring the story to a close in a way perhaps not so persuasive as its beginning; but readers will carry away from Matthee's (Circles in a Forest tale a profound sympathy and affection for Benjamin and Fiela. (May 5)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-9337-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-345-33386-5
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-226-51083-5
Paperback - 978-0-582-05293-2
Open Ebook - 361 pages - 978-0-226-11127-8
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